Commit Your Changes

Finally! Your edits are finished, you've merged all changes from the server, and you're ready to commit your changes to the repository.

The svn commit command sends all of your changes to the repository. When you commit a change, you need to supply a log message, describing your change. Your log message will be attached to the new revision you create. If your log message is brief, you may wish to supply it on the command line using the --message (or -m) option:

$ svn commit -m "Corrected number of cheese slices."
Sending        sandwich.txt
Transmitting file data .
Committed revision 3.

However, if you've been composing your log message as you work, you may want to tell Subversion to get the message from a file by passing the filename with the --file (-F) option:

$ svn commit -F logmsg
Sending        sandwich.txt
Transmitting file data .
Committed revision 4.

If you fail to specify either the --message or --file option, then Subversion will automatically launch your favorite editor (see the editor-cmd section in the section called “Config”) for composing a log message.


If you're in your editor writing a commit message and decide that you want to cancel your commit, you can just quit your editor without saving changes. If you've already saved your commit message, simply delete the text, save again, then abort.

$ svn commit
Waiting for Emacs...Done

Log message unchanged or not specified
a)bort, c)ontinue, e)dit

The repository doesn't know or care if your changes make any sense as a whole; it only checks to make sure that nobody else has changed any of the same files that you did when you weren't looking. If somebody has done that, the entire commit will fail with a message informing you that one or more of your files is out-of-date:

$ svn commit -m "Add another rule"
Sending        rules.txt
svn: Commit failed (details follow):
svn: Your file or directory 'sandwich.txt' is probably out-of-date

(The exact wording of this error message depends on the network protocol and server you're using, but the idea is the same in all cases.)

At this point, you need to run svn update, deal with any merges or conflicts that result, and attempt your commit again.

That covers the basic work cycle for using Subversion. There are many other features in Subversion that you can use to manage your repository and working copy, but most of your day-to-day use of Subversion will involve only the commands that we've discussed so far in this chapter. We will, however, cover a few more commands that you'll use fairly often.